What is more important for a flock? Rooster behaviors

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by NellaBean, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    I have two roosters currently, in a flock with 21 pullets. 9-10 of these pullets are just coming up on laying age (18-21 weeks). I have a big Jersey Giant (JG) rooster and a big Rhode island red (RIR) rooster. My Jersey Giant roo is top roo and he is very laid back. He clucks at the girls and mates them if they are willing, but won't chase anyone down. He keeps watch and is a good boy, but does not give the girls any special treatment...he is just nice. My Rhode Island red roo is not very laid back, he spends all day with his girls, constantly pecking and scratching around and clucking and showing them treats and yummy food. Whereas girls will hang around the big Jersey Giant roo, that is what they do...just all hang together. The girls with the RIR roo are constantly running over when he clucks and standing at his head, just waiting for him to show them another treat. He however is very active, constantly breeding the girls and is wearing the feathers off their backs already. I have some saddles on order but was trying to decide which behavior would be better for the flock.

    Is it better to have a rooster who is obsessed with his girls, shows them treats and takes care of them but overbreeds them? Or better to have a very laid back rooster who does not overbreed his girls, but also doesn't really take care of them. Both roosters are non-aggressive to me. My JG roo will flog strangers in the yard, my RIR roo is scared of all people (ha). It is possible once the youngest chickens come up on laying age, it will spread out the "love" enough to make it less of an issue.......but my plan is to downsize my flock and I might have to decide which rooster to keep. Both are great to have around as far as behavior with people and keeping watch over the girls......

  2. If none are giving you trouble, and you don't need to get rid of them (yet), keep things as they are. I've had roosters show their true colors as they age, and most of which are not pretty. So wait. One of your roosters might just make that choice for you.

    However, from the ways the personality traits are split, you have a problem. Neither are necessarily 'bad', as both have good traits and unfavorable ones. There is no perfect rooster, there will always be at least one flaw. When I read your post the JG was sounding like my favorite but after you mentioned that he goes after people, I was hesitating. That's an irritating burden to bare, knowing that one of your animals has the potential to hurt someone. On the other hand, overmating also isn't very good. But if saddles are on their way, I'd prefer that to an aggressive rooster.

    As for whether things will be better as the hens age, I don't know. I've had roosters mate hens MORE after they start to lay, and some that have calmed down so much I've hardly noticed they were mating at all! For now, 2 roos per 20 hens is a good ratio.
  3. pkeeler

    pkeeler Songster

    Jul 20, 2008
    19 hens should be able to spread the love more, so when the younger hens get older, things should be better. RIR roos have a nasty reputation, but your's doesn't seem aggressive at all. Consider yourself lucky.

    In general, the best behavior from a rooster is spotting predators, especially hawks.
  4. Ibicella

    Ibicella Songster

    Nov 13, 2009
    Everett, WA
    My question is how are they about protection. If they are both good at spotting and warning about predators and will jump to fight for their hens, that is going to be my top priority for considering what is a good roo.

  5. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing 11 Years

    Jan 20, 2007
    While I think you already know what's best for you and your flock...down-sizing your flock to your manageable means has to be your decision.

    If you had facilities to accommodate both of the nice cockerals, then you would prolly keep them both, eh?

    In my opinion....space for everyone...is just right!

    Good luck on your decision.

    ~ bigzio
  6. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    Well, they both are good in different ways. The Jersey Giant will actually flog to protect whereas the RIR will call out and warn the girls if he thinks something is wrong. He "screams" when I go into the coop at night, apparently a warning to his girls.

    I brought one of my dogs out (on a leash) into the yard today to test them. My jersey giant roo came right over and stood a few feet away just watching us. The RIR roo stayed back with the girls. But then later on in the day, the RIR was calling out when something was running around out back (probably a rabbit). They actually work really well together.....maybe I will just have to keep enough girls to keep them both. Ha....
  7. RockyPhoenix

    RockyPhoenix Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    North Liberty
    Your best bet would be to get a bantam rooster who is nice...probably one who is already grown...1) they are smaller and wont breed woth large chickens 2)with my experience they are good watch chickens 3) they arent very aggressive...hope this helps!

  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    If your RIR is doing most of the breeding, then he is top roo...no matter how it may look. Top roo always gets to breed more. Your RIR seems like the more useful and better flockmaster, not to mention he is an active breeder. This is important if you want to hatch your own chicks. RIRs also have better egg-laying genetics than do JGs.

    I have found that some hens will always have bare backs because they are the more submissive hens. I usually eliminate these hens from my flock for a few reasons. One, they make my flock look raggedy. Two, they hog all the breeding and their eggs are getting fertilized the most~I like a more even distribution on breeding for when I let a broodies sit a nest. Three, a submissive hen may not do her best protecting her chicks within the flock.

    I'd keep the RIR. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
  9. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    NellaBean - We had the same dilemma. Of course, you could just keep both - But what we did was keep the less laid-back one in a seperate enclosure where he could still interact with the hens, sleep in the same coop, and have plenty of running room - But not physically bother them until we felt he needed to. The more laid-back one was able to be with the hens and rule the roost, and he did perfectly fine. He only mated with one hen, which was quite interesting, and didn't chase, peck at, or try and grab the attention of any of the hens. The penned up rooster, however, used to chase them, dance for them, give them food, and mated with whatever hen he felt he needed to, whatever it took.

    So, in conclusion, we let the "good" boy do whatever he wished and the "wild" boy got his own enclosure. Now that the good boy sadly has passed away though, and we're looking to raise some new babies, we've let the wily one loose with the girls for a day, and then put him back in his own place at night. Since he is such an active breeder, he is good for this need of ours. But other than that, he is just ornamental and separated from the girls when his services are not needed.

  10. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    Well my boys really seem to work well together. I got the new saddles and got the most "worn out" girls all gussied up [​IMG] They were not happy about that at all and were screaming and carrying on and so the boys were screaming and carrying on and I ended up having to lock the boys out of the coop while I got the saddles on as they were VERY UPSET that I was bothering the poor little hens. My Jersey Giant roo has gotten more aggressive lately....he is definitely due for a butt whoopin. He flogged me the other day so I kicked him and threw a bucket at him (it was in my hand at the time) but he needs a good reminder. The RIR never even looks at me funny, however he is very timid about "strange things" and so is not really a good protector. He calls out to warn the girls and then the big Jersey Giant roo will go out to take on whatever is causing the problem (usually me, ha).

    We got 7 saddles on this weekend and I am in need of 12 more. I am going to make saddles for EVERYONE this weekend, and just try to keep it as is right now. I may end up having to get rid of my Jersey Giant roo if he continues to get more aggressive.....I don't doubt there would be someone who free ranges around here that needs a good protector. But for now I am going to try to keep them both while I have all of the extra hens. If I had to choose, I may go with the RIR, since I do have 4 RIR girls and so will at least get some pure eggs and the rest would be good layer crosses.

    I let them all stay out in a half acre fenced yard, but have hawks and dogs outside the fence, so want to keep boys to protect them and take care of them. I used to keep the RIR separate when he was really out of control breeding the girls, which helped, but he is back to his old tricks now. Fortunately, the girls will squat for him instead of running now, so instead of him chasing and tackling girls all day, he just is nice to them most of the time and breeds them often.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010

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